Saipem S.p.A., three former senior Saipem executives and two alleged intermediaries from Algeria will stand trial in an Italian court in connection with alleged improper activity surrounding contract awards in Algeria. Prosecutors said the Milan-based oil and gas services group paid about $221.55 million in bribes to win contracts worth about $9 billion with the Algerian government-owned company Sonatrach.
The Milan judge ruled on October 2, 2015 that the defendants will stand trial for tax fraud and international corruption. Under Italian law, companies are held responsible for the actions of their managers and may be subject to fines if a manager is found guilty. With trial set for December 2015, Saipem stated that it is “confident that it will be able to demonstrate that there are no grounds for the company to be held liable under Italian Legislative Decree 231/2001 at the first instance of trial.”
Saipem's parent company, Eni, and several former executives have been cleared of wrongdoing. Tullio Orsi, the former head of subsidiary Saipem Contracting Algerie S.p.A., had previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years and 10 months in jail and fined $1.3 million.